May 9, 2010

CooLikeDat Exclusive: Interview with Jay West!

CLD: How did you get started with music?

JW: Good question. As a kid my mom always had me reading poetry like Langston Hughes or Nikki Giovanni and I had a fine ass Filipino teacher in 4th grade who would have us read She'll Silverstein. I started writing poetry and stuff on my own. I feel like my affinity for writing coupled with the obvious influence of hip-hop on young black kids just lead to my eventual career choice. So, in a way the life chose me.

CLD: I know I’ve read a lot of different things about where you are from, and for those who don’t know or are still not sure, do you want to clear that up?

JW: Yeah, I'm was born and raised in southern california. In the Inland Empire or the I.E. Its a city in the shadow of Los Angeles. Not a lot of dynamic things happening for creative kids. It can be a very depressing place to be. My mother lived in the I.E. until she moved to Georgia in her 30's. So with me being kind of a "mama's boy" I moved to Atlanta shortly after that. I was in high school and I always heard Atlanta was like this "Mecca" for black people. I bounced back and forth between California and Georgia during those formidable high school years. Instead of going to college in Cali, I came back to Atlanta to try and get this music shit off. Here I am today with "Drugs + Candy"

CLD: “Drugs + CANDY” was really great by the way. Do you have a favorite track off that mixtape?

JW: Man, that's like asking a mother who her favorite child is. I made all of them so that's just unfair. I made the music for people to enjoy so when I get on the road I'll perform your favorites and if you like it, I love it!

CLD: How did the whole concept come about for “Drugs + CANDY”?

JW: I came up with the title first because I wanted to create provocative material. I wanted it to be a conversation piece and I'm glad people have responded well to it. The title just has a lot to do with our vices as people and what we want to give into. Its not really a direct explanation of the work, its more like a loose comparison or narrative. Like "A Raisin In The Sun" is not a play about aging grapes. I can say that the title of this mixtape plays a big part in the listening experience. That was intentional.

CLD: All of your hard work is surely paying off. It seems like you are on every blog I visit. What is it that you want people to know about you and your music at the end of the day?

JW: I want people to feel invested in me. I intend on getting this shit so right. I take it very seriously that I'm given a platform to share my feelings with the world. I don't take any of that lightly. I make it my business to inspire the people that listen. I just ask that you all bring more people to listen if you believe in the music. Tell them to download it or give them your copy but just share the music.

CLD: When people read the name Jay West they automatically think Jay-Z and Kanye West lol. Does this have anything to do with that? Or just pure coincidence?

JW: Y'all gotta give me a little more credit than to think that I would just steal two rappers' names to try and create my own. It doesn't have anything to do with Jay-Z or Kanye but it does make it easy to have my name mentioned in the same sentence as theirs. That's kinda cool but really, I'm a kid named Justin from the West Coast. That's the story. Sorry, its not as glamorous as the haters would like but that's my reality. Next question (laughs).

CLD: Scenario: President Obama has chosen YOU to pick the “song of the century”. A song everyone alive in that century should know. What song of yours would choose? And which song that’s not yours would you choose?

JW: Well, let's just be clear, I only have one mixtape in circulation right now and as much as I love my music, it may be a little premature for me to have the "Song of the Century". If I had to choose, I would go with "Hold Me Down" with Marian Mereba on "Drugs+Candy". The song is about an argument with God. I think mankind as a whole could relate to those feelings of doubt and frustration. Now, to go with that how about we go with "Human Nature" by this guy named Michael Jackson from Gary, IN. Yeah, he's sort of a big deal.

CLD: Who is your dream team, in terms of music?

JW: Oh wow! You're asking some awesome questions! I'm gonna keep this in the perspective of making a classic hip-hop album or else I'm just gonna say a bunch of weird shit, okay? So, I would obviously be the centerpiece of this group so I'll have to choose people who would sound good with me. I would trade verse with Snoop Dogg to make it a really big deal for West Coast Rap. I would tap Devin The Dude to season it with some hooks and occasional verses because I think dude is extremely entertaining and super slept on. Then, I'd have Diddy oversee the project and arrange all the additional production and features just to make it hot. Features would be like T.I., Nipsey Hussle, Rick Ross and LL. Hurtin' niggas!

CLD: What can we expect from Jay West in the future?

JW: Well, if niggas don't steal ideas I'd really like to work with all the names I just mentioned. That may be down the line but in the very near future expect more videos and more music. I also think its time to take this show on the road so tell the promoters cut the checks. Demand me in a city near you!

CLD: Here at the CooLikeDat blog would like to thank you for your time and as a last question…we always like to ask: what makes you CooLikeDat?

JW: California made me cool, Atlanta enhanced it. Now, its up to some wings and a passport to advance it.

Go download Drugs + CANDY right now! Visit GoJayWest.Com to get your download and more info on this artist. Also follow him at Twitter.Com/GoJayWest


Sean said...

This dude is REAL, I can't believe I've never heard of him. I think imma have to get that mixtape. Also some excellent questions were asked.

makemi said...

Its a real cool interview. The questions were great and the responses were informative. And I agree with Sean, this kid seems a little more down to earth than others and he seems well rounded. Gotta show that East Coast love to the West Coast. Great interview once again. Looking forward to see another interview after he makes it big. :)

James(J-Swizzy) said...

It makes me feel proud when someone can come up and still know where he came from. The fact that he is still humble of his background and his start, it feels as though the finish product(him becoming larger and more popular) is the an clique "from rags to riches" I mean that in the best way. Keep It Up.

Gary said...

got anotha rapper to add to my list..